YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR WITH DUI AND CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYERS

I often speak with potential clients about their DUI or criminal law matter and when the topic of price comes up they tell me they spoke to someone else who offered to take their case for A LOT less money. I don’t mean a couple hundred bucks less, I mean like less than half of what I was going to charge, and sometimes even less than that. The problem with hiring a really cheap criminal defense lawyer for a DUI or any criminal charge is you usually get what you pay for. The issue of how much a good defense lawyer will charge is a complicated one and involves many variables.

I can only speak for myself but there are several things I look at when telling a potential client how much I will charge them. The first and most important factor is the type of charge the client is facing. Is it a misdemeanor or a felony, are there multiple counts, are the crimes alleged as dangerous, etc… Another factor is if the potential client has prior convictions, and if they do what kind of convictions are they? Are the priors from ten years ago or ten days ago? What court is the person being charged with? How long do I think the case will take to resolve.

I often tell potential clients to speak to a several defense lawyers to figure out what other lawyers are charging. If two other lawyers say they will charge five thousand dollars and a third lawyer says they will do the same case for $500 dollars that should tell you something about the third lawyer.

Another factor when I set a price is my experience that I will be putting to work for my client. After ten years of having my own practice there is not a lot in criminal defense and DUI that I have not seen or dealt with. If you hire a cheap defense lawyer that has only been in practice for six months this will often have an outcome of how happy you are with the lawyer when the case is over. I’m not saying that no one should hire new lawyers, what I am saying is that a good lawyer will have experience and they will charge more because of that experience.

When hiring a defense lawyer don’t hire someone just because they are cheapest. When you are charged with any crime your future and your actual freedom may be on the line. This is not the time to try to save a few bucks. Like with most things you usually get what you pay for.

WHY HIRING AN “AGGRESSIVE” DEFENSE LAWYER IS NOT ALWAYS A GREAT IDEA

If you look at a lot of defense lawyer ads you will run across the term “aggressive” as in “hire an aggressive defense lawyer to fight for you.” A lot of clients think that this is a always a good and desirable quality in a defense lawyer. Many clients equate aggressive with competent but this is not always the case. Defending a clients rights, getting a great outcome, and being able and ready to take a case to trial are not necessarily the same thing as being aggressive.

Often times being aggressive can mean just making the prosecutor angry and the client ends up worse off than they were off before. Here is an example: A client is charged with a felony and there is an offer to plead the charge down to a misdemeanor. An overly aggressive defense lawyer comes in and creates a lot of needless drama in the case, the prosecutor pulls the offer, the client goes to trial, loses and ends up with a felony on their record.

A good defense lawyer knows when to be aggressive but, more importantly, a good defense lawyer also knows when not to be aggressive in order to get the best possible outcome for their client. The goal is a good outcome to the case, not to be aggressive for no reason. The bottom line is when you are looking for a defense lawyer to represent you find one that is skilled, experienced and will work to get the best outcome possible and not just one that uses the word “aggressive” lots of times.

WHY YOU MAY NOT WANT AN “AGGRESSIVE” DEFENSE LAWYER

If you look at a lot of defense lawyer ads you will run across the term “aggressive” as in “hire an aggressive defense lawyer to fight for you.” A lot of clients think  that this is always a good, and desirable quality in a defense lawyer. Many clients equate aggressive with competent but this is not always the case. Defending a clients rights, getting a great outcome, and being able and ready to take a case to trial are not necessarily the same thing as being aggressive.

Often times being aggressive can mean just making the prosecutor angry and the client ends up worse off than they were off before. Here is an example: A client is charged with a felony and there is an offer to plead the charge down to a misdemeanor. An overly aggressive defense lawyer comes in and creates a lot of needless drama in the case, the prosecutor pulls the offer, the client goes to trial, loses and ends up with a felony on their record.

A good defense lawyer knows when to be aggressive but, more importantly, a good defense lawyer also knows when not to be aggressive in order to get the best possible outcome for their client. The goal is a good outcome to the case, not to be aggressive for no reason. The bottom line is when you are looking for a defense lawyer to represent you find one that is skilled, experienced and will work to get the best outcome possible and not just one that uses the word “aggressive” lots of times.